HOPEWELL, Va. -- Just one week into the school year in Hopewell, three schools are already reporting several new COVID-19 cases.
"COVID-19 is here to stay. It's not going away. It's not going to go away overnight like that. It's a scary thing to come into play," a mother of a high school student said. "To me, they went back early, I think. I feel like they're not, in my opinion, prepared for what's to come. With everything going on and the new variant going around."
As the word spread about positive cases in the school, the Hopewell school system posted the following message on Facebook.
We are so thankful to have students back in school this week. We know that folks are concerned about the increase in COVID cases in the community, which has also been the case in the state and the nation over the last several weeks.
We have had a handful of cases among students in this first week of school. In each of these cases, the virus was contracted outside of school and was not spread within the school.
We take each case seriously and conduct a thorough investigation. The protocols that we have put into place to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID in our schools have resulted in less than 1% of student cases last school year (2020-2021) being due to transmission in schools. This year, we have protocols in place that exceed the CDC and VDH standards and we will continue to take appropriate measures to minimize risk in order to allow our students to be in school.
We appreciate your concern and your partnership. We ask for your help by ensuring that your child stays home if they are having any COVID-like symptoms. We will get through this together!
Despite the safety precautions explained in the school district's Facebook post, the student's mother still has concerns about how and where the virus could spread.
"What if she brings it into our home where we have health risks, in our home are and high risk and that could expose us," the mother said.
According to the school system's COVID-19 dashboard, there have been three confirmed cases at Harry E. James Elementary, two confirmed cases at Hopewell High School and one confirmed case at Dupont Elementary School.
However, the mother says that the school's COVID dashboard isn't always up to date.
"They had a COVID dashboard on their Facebook and when I tried to look at it last night, after receiving the phone call, the last date it was posted to let parents know of cases was actually June 11 of last school year," the mother said.
The mother says that if she could find a way to do so, she would pull her student out of school and return her to virtual learning.
Parents also say that they're concerned about six positive COVID cases in the first week of school and they are worried that up-to-date information isn't getting to them quickly enough.